Gods will fall, humanity will rise...
"They counted on the humans to hide, to give up, to fail. They never considered our ability to stand, to endure, that we'd rise to the challenge."
A plot trope that involves a fantastic version of the most basic conflicts: Man vs. Beast.
In a Worldnote
where humanity is terrorized by a race of Nigh Invulnerable behemoths
. Humanity is at a disadvantage, but at some point, they discover their enemies' weakness, and now have a fighting chance. And thus begins the tale of their struggle.
The most basic form of this is that a certain organization
is in charge of recruiting people and equipping them with a specific set of equipment and/or skills vital to exploiting the weaknesses of the monsters they are fighting. In cases where there is
, their purpose is to uphold it by preventing muggles
from discovering the existence of such monsters.
The organization is usually the only one of its kind, but within a global reach there will often be "branches." Size and scope also vary. They can be as large and publicized as the military, but an Oddly Small Organization
or a small The Squad
would also do.
There usually isn't a prerequisite for its recruits; as long as they can fight, they can join. In verses that rely on Applied Phlebotinum
, compatibilty with the phlebotinum
is the only requirement, and you usually cannot refuse to join them
, especially if compatible people are rare.
The monsters are usually characterized by being non-sentient beasts that devour or destroy humans or resources which make them a direct threat. Sometimes though, they are sentient but Always Chaotic Evil
with little regard for self-preservation. Whatever their flavor, they're out to multiply and destroy, and our heroes' job is to stop them from doing so.
The monster's origin usually vary from being simply Aliens
); to coming from a single Hellgate
; to being a result of Creating Life Gone Horribly Wrong
; to being a mutant strain of an existing lifeform ; or a beastly sort of Henchmen Race
created by the Big Bad
; to simply just popping out of nowhere
. Whatever their origin. There will already be quite a lot
of them already by the time the story kicks in.
Whatever their origin, they will always be Nigh Invulnerable
(or just Made of Iron
) or have Healing Factor
which makes them hard to kill. This doesn't mean they are invincible though. These monsters usually have an Achilles' Heel
— usually in the form of Applied Phlebotinum
that is the only thing that can harm them (which our organization would exploit
), or a certain weak point
in their body, which is usually a core placed in a strategic part of its body
This trope has two common variations:
Remember, for the trope to count:
- There must be an organization, or at the very least a team. Solo examples count if they have a group backing them, or at least, it is implied they have offscreen members.
- The monsters must be impersonal "forces of nature" — as in, like the Generic Doomsday Villain, they are largely defined by the threat they pose rather than their motivations. Ones with sentient higher ups or ones with a bunch of sentient monsters of the same kind still count.
- The monsters may or may not have a weakness. Their having a single origin or kind is more important than them having a weakness, whether Weaponized Weakness or Achilles' Heel.
Within the subtropes, there is the common element of "being imprisoned". Whether by a literal wall
(like in Attack on Titan
or God Eater Burst
) or by humanity being forced to live in Citadel Cities
(like in The Matrix
or Strike Witches
) due to relentless attacks by the monsters. The plot will usually involve the organization finding ways for humanity to live outside these "walls" and have character dream about how The World Is Just Awesome
and that they and everyone else need to see it.
Subtrope of The Hunter
. Sister Trope
to Bug War
, which is about humanity in general fighting Big Creepy-Crawlies
or Horde of Alien Locusts
, and may or may not employ this trope. Compare Who You Gonna Call?
, for an organization that tackles the supernatural in general in an otherwise normal world. See also The Men in Black
, an organization tasked with upholding The Masquerade
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Anime & Manga
- Attack on Titan — soldiers equipped with 3D Maneuver Gear note vs Titans. They also employ other weapons like cannons, but the 3DMG is their main equipment; as it gives them the most mobility without actually flying to reach the titans' weakpoint: the back of their necks. The titans are simply giant, creepy Humanoid Abominations with no discernible intelligence and few behavioral traits aside from a desperate desire to eat humans. Though there are some exceptions.
- The setting of Blue Gender is a Bad Future in which Big Creepy-Crawlies known as the Blue have taken over the world. Mankind's greatest hope for survival lies with the military, who combat the Blue using Mini-Mecha called Armor Shrikes.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: NERV is an organization that uses EVAs to fight an alien race known as the Angels. The reason Angels can't be destroyed by conventional weapons is because they sport AT-fields, Deflector Shields that can completely block even the explosive power of a multi-megaton bomb. The most efficent way to penetrate the AT-field is stated to be via close combat, for which the EVAs use high-frequency vibrating "Progressive Knives". The EVAs can even build up an AT-field of their own, and eventually it's revealed that the EVAs are actually created by cloning them from the same source the Angels themselves were born. The troops themselves are just three "Children" (which is also singular in-universe), who are the only ones capable of piloting said mecha... and they have issues to take care about themselves.
- The Strike Witches are one of the many squads of witches equipped with vehicle mountable guns who wear Striker Units against 'Neuroi. Striker Units are plane enginesque legwear that amplifies their magic and allows them to flynote and project Force Fields to guard against Neuroi attacks which include Frickin' Laser Beams, bullets, and full-on Wave Motion Gun. The Neuroi are aliens which take the form of huge aircrafts (pic◊) and literally consume swaths of the earth to gain their power.
- The Ganmen(or Gunmen) of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are Humongous Mecha which were originally used in lunar resource exploration, but were repurposed to battle the Anti-Spirals' Ashtanga during the time of Lordgenome as their leader. Until he had to back down and force humanity underground. as goons by the Beastmen to keep humans from living in the surface.
- D.Gray-Man has the Exorcists from the Black Order with their Innocence vs Akuma. The innocence themselves are completely non-uniform and can be anything, but are capable of morphing and evolving. They fight the Akuma, who are created when a living human in mourning over the loss of a loved one makes a contract with the Millenium Earl to bring the soul of said lost loved one back. They goes around killing in order to grow and evolve to become stronger and better serve the Earl's purpose. Innocence, also known as The Crystal of God is a strange substance that can bind with humans called Accomodators to form anti-akuma-weapons which come as Equipment type, Crystal type, and Parasitic type used in fighting Akuma.
- In the anime version of Soul Eater, the DWMA was founded to train Meisters and Weapons (who power up by eating souls) to hunt "Demon Eggs" (humans who have become corrupted by consuming the souls of the innocent), Kishin (Eldritch Abominations that form from said humans when they get too powerful) and their strongest, Kishin Asura, as well as Witches (from whom the weapons originally got their abilities). This trope didn't strictly apply to the manga, as it had no concept of Demon Eggs, and the DWMA hunted anyone Lord Death told them to. Many of them just happened to be very inhuman looking.
- Gaist Crusher is a very simplistic take on this. Humanity has harvested powerful minerals called Gaimetals, but an alien threat seems to be turning them into violent monsters called Gaist. In order to combat them, the government has established the Gaist Crushers, humans using Powered Armor made of Gaimetal to fight. They're all very young for some reason, and the main character gets recruited after being forced to don Gaist Crusher gear in an emergency situation.
- The Sky Girls are Japan's main line of defense against the setting's remaining WORMs ( Weapon Of Raid Machines). They are Older Than They Look girls chosen for their compatibility to the available Sonic Divers — which are Transforming Mecha with plane and bipedal modes. Ideal for high speed travel and aerial combat. The WORMs are artificial lifeforms consisting of millions of nanocells that take the forms of creatures they see. The girls are required to wear Latex Space Suit made of nanocells for protection because of this.
- Senki Zesshou Symphogear has the Mobile Disaster Response Corps who have the so called "Valkyries", girls attuned to mysterious crystals called Relic, which allows them to transform said crystals into Power Armor which comes with free weapons via singing— which amplifies the inherent but dormant powers of the crystal. They fight the Noise, which are aliens which vaguely take the shape of earth creatures and have Natural Weapon. They do not follow the law of conservation of energy and disintegrate any humans along with themselves if they come into direct contact with one.
- World Trigger features the Border Defense Agency against the aliens called Neighbors, who's members use the aliens' own Trion energy powered weapons called Trigger. Their members are people who have high trion levels. The BDA was formed specifically to defend against the neighbors. Although it was revealed in the first episode that what they were fighting were actually just their drones called Trion Soldiers and that the neighbors are actually Humanoid Aliens.
- Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign: Earth's population is decimated by a virus, and the survivors are attacked by monsters or enslaved by vampires. Elite members of the army are able to make contracts with demons to earn phlebotinum weapons which are the only things capable of killing vampires.
- Bleach': The Gotei 13 portrays itself as an organisation whose duty it is to protect humanity from the threat of hollows, human souls that have turned evil due Unfinished Business literally eating out the heart of their soul. However, the Shinigami were originally Balancers, monitoring the flow of souls between the World of the Living and the Soul Society. At some point they fell from their original purpose and became hollow-hunters, although they do retain at least one of their original abilities in the form of Soul Burial. Despite their current path, only the low-ranked Shinigami engage in hollow-hunting to obtain the experience necessary for dealing with threats to the Shinigami rather than to humanity. They therefore struggle to combat the threat to humanity, resulting in humans with power of their own to band together to produce the Quincies (the "Destroyers") to protect humans from hollows where Shinigami couldn't. Unfortunately, their method of fighting threatens the Balance of the World. As a result, the Quincies and Shinigami are at war with each other, benefiting no-one.
- The Magical Girl Warriors of Puella Magi Madoka Magica use their phlebotinum-powered weapons to fight Witches, dangerous Eldritch Abominations whose reality warping pose threats to humanity. What Kyubey, the critter who gave them their power, doesn't tell them is that every magical girl is doomed to become a witch due to the way that magic works in this universe.
- The titular warriors in Claymore are genetically engineered female supersoldiers designed to fight demons known as "yoma" and their evolved forms, giant monsters called Awakened Beings. The procedure to become a Claymore gives the user enhanced strength, speed, and abilities, but at great cost. This all turns out to be a front, as the Organization is actually breeding monsters in order to fight dragons.
- Gantz: Gantz is a Deadly Game where the players are equipped with alien technology and sent to destroy aliens of various shapes and sizes hiding on Earth. The players' equipment includes special suits that give the wearer superhuman strength, absurdly sharp, blade elongating katanas, and guns that shoot invisible, Painfully Slow Projectiles powerful enough to turn their target into Ludicrous Gibs. Later it's revealed that the purpose of the game is to train soldiers capable of fighting an upcoming Alien Invasion by a race of giant-sized aliens. The technology used by the players comes from alien races previously exterminated by the invading alien race.
- Haruhi Suzumiya has the Agency, a mysterious group of psychics who fight manifestations of Haruhi's teen angst in a Phantom Zone of sorts. It Makes Sense in Context.
- In InuYasha, there used to be a group of people dedicated to exterminate the Youkai who were causing mayhem in the villages. During a gory attack orchestrated by Naraku, all of them except two were killed. The two survivors are Sango and her brother Kohaku.
- Played With in Date A Live, The Amazon Brigade Anti-Spirit Team is tasked of fighting the Spirits, Person of Mass Destruction that has been causing phenomena called Spacequakes— which are "earth" quakes IN SPACEnote . The thing is, they are horribly ineffective at fighting the spirits (except for the two elites among them, who are One Women Armies) since the spirits have powerful Deflector Shields. This trope is subverted in two ways:
- One, the spirits are sentient and can be reasoned with. they can also have their powers sealed, reducing them into normal humans. so there really isn't much reason fighting them (unless they're psychos).
- Two, the AST has their rival organization: Ratatorsk, who decided to have someone date these spirits to submission, since they conveniently all happen to be girls. This is because their leader is also sort of one, and had her powers sealed as well.
- From Nobunagun, there is DOGOO, an organization formed specifically fight against aliens designated as Evolutionary Invasion Objects. They fight these with super powered individuals who are the genetic reincarnations of famous historical individuals.
- Blue Exorcist features the Order of the True Cross, a worldwide organization dedicated to hunting down and exorcising demons that prey on humans. They're mostly content to leave the peaceful ones alone; some members even rely on them to fight.
- In the The Matrix and Supernatural crossover fanfic Hunting Series the hunters are actually a group of loosely organized rebels around the Matrix's version of the world that delete 'supernatural' programs that kill innocent people. Examples of smaller teams are: Sam/Jessica and formerly the team of John Winchester and Bobby Singer.
Films — Animated
- Monsters vs. Aliens: General Monger leads a covert ops team that captures monsters and confines them in a secret base to keep the populace safe. Later, the monsters themselves become one such team, sent to battle an Alien Invasion.
Films — Live-Action
- Pacific Rim: Giant, city-destroying monsters (actually called "Kaiju" in-universe) emerge from a portal on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. The governments of the world realize that these Kaiju aren't going to stop coming, and that conventional weapons aren't suited to kill them without massive collateral damage. So the Jaeger program—consisting of Humongous Mecha, each piloted by two brain-linked humans—is created to deal with the threat.
- However, by the time of the film, the Jaeger program is about to be shut down in favor of a massive Anti-Kaiju Wall, thanks to the increasing lethality of the Kaiju making the Jaegers too expensive to continue using.
- The Matrix franchise:
- In The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions, the Machines' main force for hunting humans in the real world are Sentinels, killer robots resembling cephalopods. In the human city of Zion, Captian Mifune leads a defense force of Armored Personnel Units, capable of dual-wielding guns big enough to take down the Sentinels. (Humans working outside can use EMP's to defend themselves from Sentinels, but for a variety of reasons, those are not practical to use anywhere near Zion.) This becomes a major plot point in Revolutions, when an army of Sentinels invades Zion, and Captain Mifune's team is the main line of defense.
- In The Matrix. Neo and the rest of the Red Pills fight against The Agents of The Matrix. who try to uphold the Masquerade within the Cyberspace for the Machines. their "real world" counterparts are The Sentinels mentioned under Kaiju Killing Corps.
- John Carpenter's Vampires involves a group of vampire hunters out to stop the head vampire from getting a cross which will let him go out in the sun. There are other vampire hunting teams all around the world, all funded by the Catholic church.
- Played with in the Night's Watch from A Song of Ice and Fire. They were created specifically to defend the realm from magical ice fearies called the Others (and their minions, the wights) but lack any specialized weaponry, and, by the time the series begins, the organization has devolved into an Army of Thieves and Whores after centuries of peace. Although as the series goes on, they may be played straight, as the Others are hinted to be making a comeback, and dragonglass is discovered to be very effective in fighting them.
- Dragonriders of Pern Is set in a society that has shun technology, so Dragons were genetically engineered and used as planes to fight against the invading "Thread", some sort of Alien Fungus that work like Horde of Alien Locusts.
- The eponymous witchers in The Witcher series hunt all kinds of monsters, but specifically those who invaded the world after the Conjunction of the Spheres. They would fall under the phlebotinum-powered subtype, since they are genetically enhanced since childhood and have number of supernatural traits to complement their Training from Hell.
- The Lakewalkers in Bujold's Sharing Knife series. They exist to hunt and kill Malices (Blight Boggles).
Live Action Television
- In Supernatural, there is a loose organization of hunters, with Bobby serving as mission control, and later we learn about the Men of Letters.
- Atypical example: Monster Hunters from Feng Shui are former members of the Buro's elite Supernatural Entity Retrieval Units (SERUs), sent from the Buro's home juncture of 2056 into the Netherworld. Their objective, unlike many examples of this trope, is to capture demons from 69 AD and bring them back so that the CDCA, the Architect Mad Scientists that create arcanotech, can turn them into Abominations, the altered demons that the Buro uses to fight its wars. They use a twisted hybrid of magic and technology called arcanowave technology that both gives them an edge against the monsters they face and sends bent magic into their system whenever they use it, and which threatens to turn them into Abominations themselves if they use it too much.
- The Inquisition of Warhammer 40,000 is one organization with three major branches, each dedicated to the destruction of a different threat to humanity:
- The monster hunting game God Eater Burst is about the God Eaters of Fenrir. They are conscripted for their compatibilty to the God Arcs — weapons that come as swords or guns, with some able to switch between the two. They use these to fight the Aragami organisms made up from colonies of Oracle Cells which eat and take the appearance of whatever they eat. They can only be damaged by other colonies of oracle cells. Which is what the God Arcs are made up of, making them technically Aragami as well. God Eater 2 features The BLOOD Squadron (pictured above) who are still teenagers. There are also new God Arc types the Boost Hammer and Charge Spear and Shotgun.
- Monster Hunter is based on this trope. In the games, an organization of hunters known as The Guild hires people so they can find and kill (or capture, depending on the case) large monsters. From a meta perspective, the hunters hired are the players who connect online and play together to complete the hunting quests.
- Toukiden is another monster hunting game with a similar premise. Set in the land of Nakatsu. Your character is a Mononofu, One of the Warriors who specialize in fighting Oni. You and several other Mononofu live in and protect the village of Utakata from Oni attacks. Mononofu are armed with conventional weapons like Kusarigama, Bows, Longswords, and Gauntlets, but they also able to channel Mitamas— spirits of Ancient Warriors, to augment their abilities and attacks.
- The Order of the Virtuous Blood in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is a hilariously pathetic organization of vampire hunters in name only. They freely admit that they don't have the resources to hunt vampires and are unaware that the sewers beneath Imperial City are crawling with them, that their leader is a vampire, that the man accused of being a vampire isn't one, and that the player character could well be a vampire.
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dawnguard you can either join an ambitious vampire clan, or the titular vampire hunting organization.
- The main game also has the Vigilants of Stendarr, a militant order of priesthood that dedicate themselves to hunting daedra, witches, werewolves and the like.
- In the Dragon Age series, the Grey Wardens' mission is to fight the darkspawn. In particular, Wardens are key to ending Blights (when the darkspawn corrupt an Old God into an Archdemon and attack the surface of Thedas); they are the only ones capable of killing Archdemons.
- Kingdom Hearts has the Keyblade Wielders with their Keyblade vs Heartless/Unversed/Nobodies/Dream Eaters. The organization part is covered by the first keyblade wielders note . Although the trio of Terra, Aqua, and Ventus counts since they exclusively hunted down Unversed in Birth by Sleep. the Organization XIII is also this, but only in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Keyblades are Swiss Army Weapon that function as a Cool Sword and Magic Wand. it is also capable of transforming into a "Keyblade Glider" which is exactly what it sounds, or other weapons like bazookas. though mostly known as the most effective weapons against creatures of darkness. which are:
- The Heartless consume people's "hearts".
- Nobodies, introduced in Kingdom Hearts II, who are born when a Heart is swallowed by darkness and becomes a Heartless. They are the remaining parts left behind by the heart: the body, giving a Nobody form, and the soul, giving the Nobody life.
- The Unversed of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, are formed from the negative emotions produced when Vanitas was created from Ventus.
- Dream Eaters, who are a species of creature introduced in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance. As their name suggests, they consume dreams. They fall under two major categories, Nightmares , which eat good dreams and plant bad ones, and Spirits, which eat bad dreams.
- The main casts of Persona 3 and 4 consist of groups of teenagers (with some exceptions) who can summon Personas, which is necessary to defeat Shadows. However, while 4's Investigation Team mainly kills shadows in the course of rescue operations, SEES was specifically formed to hunt down Shadows and keep them from attacking people. Mitsuru Kirijo, a former member of SEES, would later form the Shadow Operatives to deal with Shadows on a global scale.
- Super Robot Wars Z2 has the Original Generation DM (Dimensional Monster) Busters.
- The extinct-animal expanded versions of Zoo Tycoon give you the option of adding a Dino Capture Team to your zoo, whose team members round up and tranquilize dinosaurs that escape their exhibits and go on property-destruction rampages.
- The titular XCOM is one of these, dedicated to fighting an alien invasion.
- The students of Signal and Beacon (and others) use Mix And Match Weapons to fight The Grim. The Grim are a bunch of monstrous big black animals with something resembling a White Mask of Doom. They lack Aura and are more vulnerable to the weapons (which is good since they're Always Chaotic Evil and these weapons are in the good guys hands). The weapons used are amalgamations of a Melee weapon and a firearmException the only things these weapons have in common are that they are powered by Dust. In addition to this, they and every other living being (except for Grim) have an aura which is used (either consciously or subconsciously) to augment their offensive and defensive capabilities.
- D.I.A.P.P., the Division for the Investigation and Appropriation of Paranormal Phenomena from Angel Of Death is a division of the US government who, among other things, work to combat the numerous liches who go about devouring human souls.
- One of the many roles the SCP Foundation fills.